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Well, that didn’t take long.
Not that it was a huge surprise, but Marcus Mariota was officially named the Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback by quarterbacks coach Charles London.
London told The Athletic, “Marcus is the starter … that’s how we’re going into this thing.”
The Falcons drafted Cincinnati Bearcat Desmond Ridder in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft (74th overall), but for now the rookie will take a backseat to the veteran.
Mariota signed a two-year deal worth $18.75 million this offseason after the team traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts.
Mariota was drafted with the second pick in the 2015 draft by the Tennessee Titans and was the team’s main starter for four-and-a-half seasons before being benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill in 2019.
Following the season, he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, where he has spent the past two years as Derek Carr’s backup.
Mariota is trying to resurrect a once-promising career that has been marred by injuries and inconsistent play.
For his career, Mariota is 29-32 as a starter with 77 passing touchdowns and 45 interceptions. He has never passed for 3,500 yards in a season and has been sacked 155 times.
Mariota won’t be lacking offensive weapons in Atlanta, so he’ll have every opportunity to succeed. Although star wide receiver Calvin Ridley is suspended indefinitely for betting on the NFL, Mariota has two Top 10 picks to throw to.
Last year, the Falcons took tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick and this year they selected USC wide receiver Drake London with the 8th selection. Pitts was a Pro Bowl player as a rookie.
In addition, they have resurgent wide-receiver-turned-running-back Cordarrelle Patterson, who totaled over 1,100 yards from scrimmage last season.
Mariota will look to follow the path of his new teammate, a former first round pick who revived his career in Atlanta.